Mark Anderson, eastern region director of conservation science, led a comprehensive review of ecological data for 13 states from Virginia to Maine. His group's report tells us where conservation is working and points to areas needing more attention.
Private conservation is the region’s fastest growing sector in secured lands. Conservation easements and fee ownerships now account for 4.3 million acres — an area nearly the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
While Northeast and Mid-Atlantic forests have recovered dramatically from the development and clearing for pasture of past decades, we need more connected forests with trees of different ages and sizes to provide optimum natural services.
Historically, 75% of the region’s streams were linked into interconnected networks over 1,000-miles long. Now, these networks are divided by thousands of dams and road crossings.
While conservation has succeeded in protecting a wealth of scenic mountains, high summits, rocky basins and rugged conifer forests, flat, productive habitats like limestone, shale, silts and sands are in need of more protection.
We have secured about as much wetland as was converted, and made great progress protecting tidal wetlands. But we must catch up with river-related wetlands, which have seen five times more conversion than protection.
There are 112 species of high regional responsibility in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic — species that are centered in the region and occur across four or more states, but just 25% of the habitat they depend upon is secured from development.
The State of Nature in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: a Snapshot
The study offers a report card for our work in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and a blueprint for moving forward. Explore graphics that show some of the study’s key findings.